Ulster Women's Unionist Council Papers

Records of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council and its various branches and associations, 1892-1975.

Officially established on 23 January 1911, the formation of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council was a significant event in the history of women's political activism in Ireland. Initiated as the female equivalent to the main Ulster Unionist Council, it was established as an auxiliary organisation to oppose home rule, promote unionist propaganda and preserve the legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland. Within a year of its establishment it was easily the largest female political group Ireland had ever seen, with an estimated membership of 115,000-200,000. On the outbreak of World War I the organisation became engaged in extensive charity work, making arrangements to care for those who were discharged from the forces on medical grounds and inaugurating the Ulster Women's Gift Fund for Soldiers. After the Representation of the People Act in 1918 the movement became involved in the registration of women voters. Subsequent reorganisation involved speakers' classes, meetings that combined education with entertainment, and the holding of meetings outside Belfast to increase interest in the work of the Women's Council at a local level.

The papers held in this collection reflect all levels of activity of the Council from its establishment in 1911 and comprise a range of volumes, documents and photographs. These include minute books of the UWUC Executive Committee, 1911-1940, annual reports, papers and minutes of the Ulster Women’s Gift Fund and a series of minute books drawn from various local branches set up throughout the north of Ireland. These feature minute books of the Women's Unionist Association, North Tyrone, 1907; General Committee Minute Book of St Anne's Women's Unionist Association, 1918-23; records of North Down Women's Unionist Association, 1914-69; Minute book of Ballycastle Branch of North Antrim Women's Unionist Association, 1911-34; and Minute book of Strandtown Branch of Victoria Women's Unionist Association, 1947-58.


The collection is particularly strong for students of unionism and Irish women's history in the early twentieth century.

Physical characteristics

c. 150 items which comprising a range of documents, volumes, photographs, pamphlets and publications dating from 1892 to 1975. They occupy 8 PRONI boxes.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI calendar references D/1098 and D/2688 for catalogues of the papers. The catalogues are available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.


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Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 10 April 2018